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Old 26-10-2013, 00:04   #1
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Animals living aboard

Hey everyone! My husband and I are planning on moving aboard a sailboat in the near future. Right now we are doing a lot of our research. One thing we came across is how do we safety keep the boat warm/cool while we are not there? I have a dog and cat and I just wanted to know if anyone does just leave their acs or heaters on or would you have another method?
Thanks so much!!!

Any other pointers you wanna share about living aboard would be great too! What would you suggest the best monohull live aboard?
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Old 26-10-2013, 03:16   #2
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Re: Animals living aboard

Hi Ansmith, my wife and I moved onto our yacht about seven months ago. With us were our two crazy cats. We have netting all of the way round our boat, this is pretty awesome as it keeps visitors safe as well. Animals are really unpredictable, we have lost one over the side even with the netting (I think she was chasing birds). We guessed that she had been in the water a long time when we finally found her as she simply collapsed into my arms when I got her out of the water. This has been fixed simply with a piece of carpet hanging over the duckboard. As for a heater on board a boat, remember to always have fresh air coming in because most heaters burn oxygen. I will not insult your intelligence about a safety switch on it in case it gets knocked over. An A/C is definately the best bet, however, in Australia we get charged extra at marinas if an A/C is used especially heating. -Good luck.
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Old 26-10-2013, 05:21   #3
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Re: Animals living aboard

We have been comfortable leaving air conditioners and heaters operating aboard for some periods of time while we are away from our boat, but there are concerns. We spend our winters in Florida so our heating needs are minimal. At the dock we sometimes use small electric heater that has a cut-off switch if the device is knocked over. Air conditioning has been a greater need for us. For the first 14 years that we lived aboard we used AC units using the ambiant air for heat exchange. These systems, like RV units or "window" units are not as efficient as those using the seawater to exchange heat. The more efficient marine AC units that require cooling water pumped through the device add the risk of seawater plumbing pumped through your boat and caution is required to keep the pumbing secure so that you are not pumping water into your boat. We've used these systems for our last 28 years of living aboard and regularly left them operating during the hot days while we were at work in Florida. What would suit you best may be better addressed if you share the type of climate where you will keep your boat. Also, the best choice of boat depends upon where and how you plan to use the boat.
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Old 26-10-2013, 06:07   #4
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Re: Animals living aboard

i do not use heater. when i did, i would not leave boat while it was on.
i use aircond. which is securely placed into a formosa window... fits well and cat cannot dislodge it
in marinas my cat is leashed to boat. at anchor he runs free on board. he does not leave boat. ever. he protects it and guards it from intruders. he is a good boatkat. he also does not get seasick. he is happy wherever his momms is.
bubba daboatkat has lived on boats or 7 1/2 years so far. he is 7 1/2 yrs old.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:04   #5
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Re: Animals living aboard

I think cats are single use onboard while dogs seem to last better. Both seem to be quite nuisance to neighbours but this can be addressed simply by asking for a berth on an uninhabited dock, then being nice to people who come and are grumpy about your dog barking and your cat peeing (in the best case) on their boats.

As someone already said - ventilation is a major concern whatever the clime and then you want heating, if you are living aboard in a cold area. We use electric heaters that we never leave on when away from the boat, I have seen diesel heaters, wood stoves and gas heaters too and all seem to be doing fine when implemented correctly.

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Old 26-10-2013, 07:07   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris68 View Post
Hi Ansmith, my wife and I moved onto our yacht about seven months ago. With us were our two crazy cats. We have netting all of the way round our boat, this is pretty awesome as it keeps visitors safe as well. Animals are really unpredictable, we have lost one over the side even with the netting (I think she was chasing birds). We guessed that she had been in the water a long time when we finally found her as she simply collapsed into my arms when I got her out of the water. This has been fixed simply with a piece of carpet hanging over the duckboard. As for a heater on board a boat, remember to always have fresh air coming in because most heaters burn oxygen. I will not insult your intelligence about a safety switch on it in case it gets knocked over. An A/C is definately the best bet, however, in Australia we get charged extra at marinas if an A/C is used especially heating. -Good luck.
I'm so sorry to hear about your cat!! We have thought about netting around the boat because at some point we do plan to have a kid and read that it's a pretty good way to help keep them from falling off. As for the heating I really didn't think about it burning the oxygen which does make sense since it's in a smaller area. (I was thinking like a house) We hope to live in an area where the winters are not bad to be able to avoid heating but we would still worry about AC. Thanks for the info! I'm a newbie at this and my husband is fairly new at this two. The sailboat we currently have is my first and his second. Sadly we have having engine problems and haven't been able to take it out yet! We plan to sell it and get a much bigger one to live aboard.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:17   #7
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We have been comfortable leaving air conditioners and heaters operating aboard for some periods of time while we are away from our boat, but there are concerns. We spend our winters in Florida so our heating needs are minimal. At the dock we sometimes use small electric heater that has a cut-off switch if the device is knocked over. Air conditioning has been a greater need for us. For the first 14 years that we lived aboard we used AC units using the ambiant air for heat exchange. These systems, like RV units or "window" units are not as efficient as those using the seawater to exchange heat. The more efficient marine AC units that require cooling water pumped through the device add the risk of seawater plumbing pumped through your boat and caution is required to keep the pumbing secure so that you are not pumping water into your boat. We've used these systems for our last 28 years of living aboard and regularly left them operating during the hot days while we were at work in Florida. What would suit you best may be better addressed if you share the type of climate where you will keep your boat. Also, the best choice of boat depends upon where and how you plan to use the boat.
This was extremely helpful! Right now we are in Norfolk, Virginia and we will be here for at least 2 years after we get our boat that we plan on living aboard. After that as of right now our plans are to move to Florida figuring that we wouldn't have to worry about heat so much and plus it's nice there! We plan on using the boat for coastal cruising and blue water sailing once we become a bit more comfortable. It's my first ever experience with a sailboat. We have one now it's a 36 Colombian and sadly we have engine problems so we haven't been able to take it out. I'm the spring I plan to take some courses just so I get a good understanding of some things. Really looking forward to it!!! What are the laws in Florida about living aboard? I have read that you can't be considered a resident if you don't have a land address.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:27   #8
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I think cats are single use onboard while dogs seem to last better. Both seem to be quite nuisance to neighbours but this can be addressed simply by asking for a berth on an uninhabited dock, then being nice to people who come and are grumpy about your dog barking and your cat peeing (in the best case) on their boats. As someone already said - ventilation is a major concern whatever the clime and then you want heating, if you are living aboard in a cold area. We use electric heaters that we never leave on when away from the boat, I have seen diesel heaters, wood stoves and gas heaters too and all seem to be doing fine when implemented correctly. b.
Thanks for the tip!! Yea I've thought about that too. My dog can very protective so I was worried about us getting in trouble for him being so loud during the day if he hears anyone. As for the cat, he's an inside cat and I've never had any problems with him spraying however I am worried about him getting sick.

As for heat and ac, the reason I'm concerned about it is for one I want them to be comfortable and be dying of heat or cold and I would assume that you could be fined just like you could leaving your pets in the car. Especially in Florida where we plan to move to. I'll have to look into some of them. A lot of people are suggesting electric heaters which we do use now on our boat during winter when we are working on it. Does seem to keep the pretty warm. Thanks again for the info!
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:35   #9
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Something to think about.
On my honeymoon trip in an r.v. I left my dog in it for the day with the a.c. on and the radio. Came back to a tripped breaker and a dead dog. You could see where he tried to get out. Had I left a window cracked he could have gotten out.
If you're going to relying on a mechanical device have a backup for when they fail.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:36   #10
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For residency get a PO box. Then, either get a lease with a marina and give their street address as a physical address whenever required on some form and use the PO Box as your mailing address, or, USPS just introduced a new service where you can use the post office street address for mail and deliveries and they will deliver it to your PO Box.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:38   #11
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Something to think about. On my honeymoon trip in an r.v. I left my dog in it for the day with the a.c. on and the radio. Came back to a tripped breaker and a dead dog. You could see where he tried to get out. Had I left a window cracked he could have gotten out. If you're going to relying on a mechanical device have a backup for when they fail.
I'm so sorry to hear that!! Thanks for sharing! I'd be a mess if something happen to mine. They really are like your kids. My biggest fear is to come back and the boat either sank or caught fire while we are gone with the animals in it.
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Old 26-10-2013, 07:39   #12
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For residency get a PO box. Then, either get a lease with a marina and give their street address as a physical address whenever required on some form and use the PO Box as your mailing address, or, USPS just introduced a new service where you can use the post office street address for mail and deliveries and they will deliver it to your PO Box.
Thanks so much!!! I'll definitely keep that in mind!
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Old 26-10-2013, 12:31   #13
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Re: Animals living aboard

Mail service,...PO Box,....Marina Address,- there's lots of viable options for establishing a residence in Florida. Some have found difficulty with the Dept. of Motor Vehicles requiring a "street address" when their marina does not receive mail. Others, like ourselves, dislike requirin to change our address every time we move our boat, so we use St. Brendans Isle.
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Old 26-10-2013, 20:27   #14
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Re: Animals living aboard

I second St Brendan's Isle for mail service... We used it for four years and obtained Florida Residency (Drivers License & Voter Registration) using that address.

We lived aboard in San Francisco Bay for four years before cruising. Our Old English Sheep Dog live aboard with us.

We never worried about cold while we were away, since he had a nice coat to wear. As far as heat, there we a couple of days when it got warm enough for air conditioning, but usually we would leave the companion way open and he would just crash in the cockpit under the bimini.

Now that we live in Florida, I would not leave my dogs alone inside the boat during the summer without A/C Even with the hatches open the inside of the boat gets pretty uncomfortable. Also during the summer (Our wet session) we get a lot of rain and leaving the hatches open while your away is asking for trouble.

Again as far as heat goes.... This is Florida your animals will welcome the winter temperatures and you won't have to leave the heat on while you are gone.
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Old 27-10-2013, 07:39   #15
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I second St Brendan's Isle for mail service... We used it for four years and obtained Florida Residency (Drivers License & Voter Registration) using that address. We lived aboard in San Francisco Bay for four years before cruising. Our Old English Sheep Dog live aboard with us. We never worried about cold while we were away, since he had a nice coat to wear. As far as heat, there we a couple of days when it got warm enough for air conditioning, but usually we would leave the companion way open and he would just crash in the cockpit under the bimini. Now that we live in Florida, I would not leave my dogs alone inside the boat during the summer without A/C Even with the hatches open the inside of the boat gets pretty uncomfortable. Also during the summer (Our wet session) we get a lot of rain and leaving the hatches open while your away is asking for trouble. Again as far as heat goes.... This is Florida your animals will welcome the winter temperatures and you won't have to leave the heat on while you are gone.
Thanks so much for the info!! I'll have to look up St. Brendan isle. Don't know too much about Florida. I've only been there once and loved it! We went near Merritt Island.
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